Krasovitsky, Alexander, Dunstan Brown, Greville G. Corbett, Matthew Baerman, Alison Long & Harley Quilliam. 2009. Surrey Database of Short Term Morphosyntactic Change: Predicate agreement with conjoined noun phrases. University of Surrey. http://dx.doi.org/10.15126/SMG.17/5
Languages change by gaining and losing word forms over time, but an equally significant role in their history is played by subtle shifts in the function of existing forms. Investigating such developments requires us to analyse patterns of use in large amounts of historical data, but such data are simply unavailable for most languages. Russian is a happy exception. It is a language with a rich and relatively stable system of inflectional morphology. Yet while the system of forms has changed relatively little, the use of these forms has undergone a remarkable degree of change over the last 200 years, a period for which a substantial quantity of varied material is available.
The Surrey Database of Short Term Morphosyntactic Change: Predicate agreement with conjoined noun phrases provides statistical analyses of changes in predicate agreement with conjoined noun phrases in a 10 million word corpus of Russian literary texts written between 1801 and 2000.
Russian conjoined noun phrases may take either a singular or a plural predicate:
The database documents this variation with respect to these factors: the noun’s lexical semantics (animacy and concreteness/abstractness), the noun’s morphosyntactic properties (gender and number), verb characteristics (such as transitivity contrasts and the activity/state contrast), word order (namely, subject-verb or verb-subject) and the structure of the conjuncts (number of subjects, presence of common modifier). These factors are known to apply cross-linguistically (Corbett 2006). The database also provides information on how the semantic relationships between conjoined subjects affect predicate number: the database provides statistics of morphosyntactic choices with respect to each type of conjunction (co-ordinate, disjunctive, adversative) and for asyndetic conjoined noun phrases.
Corbett, Greville G. 2006. Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The database was created for the project 'Short term morphosyntactic change: Variation in Russian 1801-2000', funded by the Arts and Humanties Research Council under grant number RG/AN4375/APN18306. This support is gratefully acknowledged.
Creators: Krasovitsky, Alexander; Brown, Dunstan; Corbett, Greville G.; Baerman, Matthew; Long, Alison; Quilliam, Harley;
Title: Surrey Database of Short Term Morphosyntactic Change: Predicate agreement with conjoined noun phrases
Publisher: University of Surrey